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What You Need to Know Before Buying Electrical Conduit

May. 13, 2024

This guide will explain what you need to know before buying conduit for your application. It provides an overview of what electrical conduit is, what types are available and what to consider before installing conduit.  


What is Electrical Conduit?


In the early days of electric lighting, existing gas light pipes were repurposed to accommodate wiring for new electric bulbs on existing fixtures. Today, electrical conduit refers to tubing installed by electricians to safeguard and route electrical wiring. It comes in various materials, including rigid or flexible options like metal, PVC, or thermosetting resin, depending on its intended application. Electrical conduit is commonly found in attics, basements, crawl spaces, and both interior and exterior surfaces and spaces.


Electrical Conduit

Types of Electrical Conduit Exist?


There are two main categories of electrical conduit: rigid and flexible. Rigid conduit can be made of metal, PVC, or thermosetting resin, while flexible conduit includes metal (FMC), liquid-tight metal (LFMC), and liquid-tight non-metallic (LFNC) options. Each type comes in various sizes, with specific restrictions on their usage.


Rigid metal conduit is the sturdiest and thickest option among conduit materials. It provides reliable protection against rodents in areas like basements and garages. Its robustness makes it a go-to choice for environments with severe conditions. Typically crafted from steel or aluminum, aluminum is preferable for locations with high moisture as it wards off corrosion. When navigating corners, tools like conduit benders, couplings, offset fittings, and elbows may be necessary.


Rigid PVC and thermosetting resin conduit stand as the lightest and most economical conduit selections. They shield electrical wiring from moisture and grime while boasting corrosion resistance, moisture resilience, and non-conductivity. Primarily employed outdoors and underground, they find common application in lawn irrigation controls and swimming pool setups.


Flexible metal conduit (FMC), known as Greenfield or Flex in the construction realm, earns favor for dry indoor locations due to its lack of liquid tightness. Its pliability and reduced weight streamline installation compared to rigid conduit. It is frequently used in the interior walls of houses and office buildings, cubicles and office ceilings (for connecting power to light fixtures).


Liquid tight, flexible, metallic conduit (LFMC) is typically covered with a waterproof plastic coating to keep out moisture. Its flexibility enables it to be used in places with tight bends where rigid conduit would be hard to install. Typical uses include bridges, ground burial, paper mills, petrochemical facilities and water treatment plants.


Liquid-tight, flexible, non-metallic conduit (LFNC) is versatile, fitting for dry, wet, or oily settings. It finds application both indoors and outdoors, catering to industrial and commercial needs. Commonly utilized for ground burial, HVAC units, as well as pools and spas.

Electrical Conduit